Please help my sick azaleas

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  #1  
Old 05-17-06, 04:48 PM
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Unhappy Please help my sick azaleas

I have three well-established azaleas in front of my big front window. They are about 3-1/2 feet high, and have always been pruned to give the appearance of a hedge. Until this spring, they thrived on benign neglect, but this spring they look very anemic. I live in NJ, and we had a very wet winter, followed by an early spring, followed by a cold snap, followed by heat, followed by chilly.

This year they didn't flower well, and while there is leaf growth, they just don't look "robust."

There are a lot of branches that look dead but which have leaves attempting to grow out of the ends. There is a fair amount of new growth trying to come from the bottom.

I got some acid-loving plant food and put it down in the soil, and weather permitting, I'm going to mulch this weekend. I have brown, un-dyed cedar mulch -- is that OK? I also noticed that the soil seems to have receded a bit, so I will probably get some topsoil as well and add that too.

I have trimmed back as much dead stuff (dead stuff being defined as branches with ABSOLUTELY NO GROWTH), and now it looks awful == my lovely hedge has holes in it, but there is at least room for light to get to the new growth.

I need to know what else I can do to save these plants. I can't afford new landscaping, and I may be getting laid off later this year, in which case I will have to sell my house, and this thing looks awful right now.

Thank you.
 
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  #2  
Old 05-17-06, 06:51 PM
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The acidic food will help the azaleas. They are surface feeders, so don't overdo the soil addition. If they are showing new leaves, keep them watered so they can grow. I don't know about your area, but we have had a dry year so far. If this is the case up there, too, then watering them may help most of all.

Azaleas set buds pretty soon after blooming. If you wait more than a week or so to trim them, you are removing the buds for next year.

Hope this helps.
 
  #3  
Old 05-17-06, 07:05 PM
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Question

Should I put down some topsoil too? I think the tops of the roots are now above ground.

The blooms, such as they are, are still on them.

Do I need to work the plant food into the soil? And how often should I feed them? Thanks.
 
  #4  
Old 05-27-06, 04:24 PM
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I have one azalea that is sick as well. A friend said to mix applecider vinegar with water and pour it around it. But she didn't know the ratio.

This one is around 6ft tall by 10ft wide and is my smaller azalea (the other one right next to it looks fine) and it only managed to get less than half of it's buds open. It was fully budded but the casings on them seemed very sticky and didn't release. the flowers died inside them. It flowered in March and these dead buds are still on it.

The leaves are pale green with yellow to them. One cane in the middle has completely died. One looks almost dead and the rest is just poor.

We haven't had rain of any decent amount since January.

What, besides watering which I will do tonight, we don't have sprinklers, would be the fastest course of action to save it! ? !
 
  #5  
Old 06-03-06, 11:34 AM
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Hey there,

Rust is a common azalea/rhod problem & you may have that or something else. What do the leaves that are there look like, esp the older ones? Are there any little white spots on the new leaves or rust colored ones on last year's ? >OR< are the leaves & flower buds blackening & dropping? Describe it.
Also..Remove any dead leaves & the mulch (old mulch) on the ground under the plant in case there is a fungus. When feeding, don't use vinegar, use Holytone or Miracid. There is also an acid food out there with systemic disease control. If you need to replace or add soil, use pine fines or soil conditioner that is mostlky pine fines - they will love it.Mulching az/rhods with pinestraw is a good idea as it feeds when it breaks down.
-gnat
 
  #6  
Old 06-05-06, 05:12 PM
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I have a blue spruce; would needles from that do?
 
  #7  
Old 06-09-06, 06:43 AM
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Blue spruce needles are acidic too, but are very short & don't fall the way other pine needles do & you won't get much to rake up & use as mulch from that- or shouldn't. Buy a bale of pine straw. A $3 0r $4 bale will go a long way. Mulch thickly with it to keep the moisture in. Next spring the bottom layer of it will be turning black & you can mix it in the soil & add fresh on top. Look for clean redish bales & stay away from ones that look old & musty. Note that places like Callaway Gardens famous for their huge azaleas have tons of pinestraw under them. If your azaleas are sharing a bed with other plants that dont like acid, you can mulch those with something else & use the two different mulches in pleasing "shapes" .
Oh well, I do go on.... what do the leaves look like? Where do you live?

-gnat
 
  #8  
Old 06-18-06, 07:58 AM
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A month after feeding and pruning away all the dead stuff, my azaleas are looking much better. Thanks to all.
 
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